Constant rejection by wife great mental agony for husband: Delhi HC

A marriage rests on mutual trust, respect and companionship, and constant rejection by wife is a source of great mental agony for husband, the Delhi High Court has said while upholding the divorce granted to a couple that was living separately since 2011 with no possibility of reconciliation.

A bench headed by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait dismissed an appeal filed by the wife against a family court order granting divorce on a plea by the husband earlier this year, saying the “marriage for the parties was not a bed of roses” and the appellant’s conduct “caused immense mental suffering, pain and cruelty” to her spouse, entitling him to divorce.

The husband alleged that besides implicating him and his family in an unsuccessful criminal case for cruelty, the wife refused to fast on Hindu festival ‘Karwa Chauth’ as she did not recognise him as her husband because she loved someone else. Married Hindu women fast for their husband’s long life and well-being during the festival.

The husband also claimed she did not respect him or his family members and even threatened to commit suicide.

“The respondent in his testimony had deposed that she had even refused to keep the fast of Karwa Chauth by asserting that she considered ‘R’ as her husband, and she had been forced into marriage with the respondent by her parents against her wishes. Such disconnect and constant rejection of any relationship or non-acknowledgment of the respondent as a husband is again a source of great mental agony for a husband,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, in an order passed on September 11.

“A relationship of marriage rests on mutual trust, respect and companionship and the acts of the appellant clearly establish and prove that these elements were totally missing from their marriage, essentially on account of the conduct of the appellant,” the court said.

In the order, the court observed that the Supreme Court has held in a case that constant fear on account of threats of suicide amounted to cruelty as it would be harmful or injurious to live with such a spouse.

Such threats are likely to affect the peace of mind and take a toll on the mental well-being of the other party, and the family court rightly held in the present case that the wife’s behaviour was an act of immense cruelty.

The court added the wife also failed to prove that she was subjected to any dowry demands or was harassed, and such “unsubstantiated” allegations enable a husband to claim divorce on the ground of mental cruelty.

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The complaints and the conduct of the wife can only be termed as designed to humiliate and insult the husband and his family members, it said.

The court noted the wife’s “extreme reluctance” to have conjugal relationship. It said it was “after much cajoling” that the parties were able to develop a conjugal relationship which was totally devoid of any emotional relationship.

“The learned Principal Judge, Family Courts had rightly concluded that the parties have been living separately since October, 2011 and there has been no conjugal relationship and there was no possibility of reconciliation despite efforts being made by the families. The conduct of the appellant has been held to have caused immense mental suffering, pain and cruelty to the respondent thereby entitling him to divorce. We find no merit in the Appeal which is hereby dismissed,” the court ruled.

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